After my parents got divorced they both decided to head for opposite ends of the continent, which led to a lot of traveling for me. It was that event which provoked several regrettable trips, which forever altered my relationship with my father. It wasn’t until my freshman year that I finally went on another adventure that changed my life in a way I hadn’t quite expected.
I remember pleading with my mom not to make me go, it was the first time in four years that I’d go see my father. I never imagined the trip had much room for improvement after my grandmother popped in ‘The Hounds of Baskerville’ on tape. I spent nearly six hours gazing out the window of a golden Taurus wagon looking at perplexed livestock and withering cornfields on my way to Wisconsin.
When we finally arrived I was in the last place I ever wanted to be in the world. I had spent at least four years prior to that dreading going to visit my father ever again. When we got there he seemed almost different though.
Instead of attacking me about everything that was imperfect about me he seemed genuinely enthused to see me. It wasn’t until we drove around the college campus that I came to appreciate the true beauty of the city. I had never imagined a college town being so different from my own.
The campus wasn’t cramped or scarred with the common graffiti, but it seemed almost overstated in a glorified manner. Instead of being overshadowed by elderly trees it was enclosed by a beautiful lake and historical homes filled with sororities and fraternities. Driving around that campus was probably the first time in my life that my father and I actually talked.
I hadn’t expected anything good to come of that trip, nor did I expect to see such a beautiful place.The first time I went to the loop here I didn’t think anything would compare to the hole in the wall shops and record stores. That was until we visited the equivalent of the loop there. The beautiful brick buildings were enclosed by the local farmer’s market. Where even in the cold weather people were out selling homemade jams, pretzels, and a variety of other delights. I could have walked those streets for days just taking it all in.
The only thing that I purchased there was a CD from a small store. Rilo Kiley’s More Adventurous. I remember it vividly because I listened to those songs on for days on end, as I still tend to do whenever I am in need of a little self-discovery.
The most captivating aspect of the city was the courthouse. The building itself was gorgeous. Everything was gold plated and oversized. It was almost like waltzing through a scene in Citizen Kane. As if you’re some miniscule part in something so big you could never truly comprehend it. Each of the levels seemed more beautiful than the next. I remember all of the pillars and paintings, it seemed like you could have spent days in there analyzing every single thing about the place and never gotten any closer to the answers you were seeking.
Despite all of the emotional chaos of being separated from everything I held dear in my life I was able to give my father another chance. We were finally able to talk again, maybe not in the ways I wanted, but it was a tiny step towards a much larger thing. Walking through the levels of that building was like tracing the years of my past.To me Madison symbolizes my relationship with my father. Maybe I glorify the place for saving what may have very well been lost to me forever. If I hadn’t agreed to take that vacation I may never have forgiven my father for the wrongs he forced upon my mother and I. Madison was where I found myself again, prior to my adventuring there I had spent my time wallowing in self pity and anger, but afterwards I learned how to forgive.
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